Think tank submits proposed PPP policy

Published by rudy Date posted on May 6, 2011

Prominent think tank Forensic Law and Policy Strategies Inc. (Forensic Solutions) submitted to the government a national policy and framework for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) that it hopes the Aquino administration would consider to help ensure the success of PPP projects by way of delivering more, better and affordable services to the Filipino people.

The comprehensive 59-page proposal, which Forensic Solutions submitted to the Department of Finance (DoF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), provides the Aquino administration with an all-encompassing guide to its flagship program — from defining PPP and outlining the modes of how PPP initiatives should be carried out and financed to a checklist of 50 risks that government has to consider to make sure these projects do not end up saddling the public with exorbitant tariffs and user fees.

Given that one mission of Forensic Solutions is not only to contribute to the discussion of national issues but to recommend do-able solutions as well, it is now also offering a draft national PPP policy and framework for Malacañang’s review and consideration “to ensure a viable and vibrant Philippine PPP environment,” according to one-time Justice secretary and solicitor general Alberto Agra, the think tank’s founder and author or co-author of most of its 21 policy papers.

Forensic Solutions’ proposal was culled not just from the think tank’s previous policy papers on PPP but also from materials released by the Institute of Public-Private Partnerships (IP3) based in Arlington, Virginia along with existing PPP policies in five countries.

These five countries are Australia, Singapore, Kenya, Tanzania and Pakistan.

Aware that Malacañang is now in the process of drafting and formulating its PPP policy, Agra said the think tank wants to help speed up this crucial process by submitting a draft for the Palace’s study, saying that the need to have such a policy cannot be overemphasized considering that the first five PPPs will soon be subjected to bidding.”

“At present, we have no national PPP policy and framework,” Agra who is now an ardent PPP advocate said. “Without a national policy, the government is left with only a piecemeal approach to PPP,” he added.

“So far, the government has no definition of PPP; our PPP modes not clear; and we have no policy on when PPP viable and when PPP not suitable. The objectives, benefits, requirements of PPP and PPP procedures are not clear,” he further noted. “Forensic Solutions is not all criticism. We want to be part of the solution,” he said.

Of Forensic Solutions’ 21 published policy papers thus far on assorted national concerns, eight of these tackle — and propose solutions — to various PPP concerns.

These eight PPP policy papers involved detailed discussions and/or do-able solutions on the PPP policy, the “Swiss challenge” method of bidding out major projects, the joint venture guidelines, corpora-tization and the lease option as viable PPP modes, mitigating tariffs in PPP projects; and the affordability of, and 50 risks involved in, PPP projects.

The think tank has also published a book on Knowing PPP, BOT and JV: A Legal Annotation and, together with the Center for Global Best Practices, it has already conducted two seminars on PPP at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel.

In its proposed PPP policy and framework submitted to the DoF and Neda last Monday, Forensic Solutions said that to ensure the success of the PPP projects, these should be promoted to provide more, better, affordable and timely services to the public.

“By definition, PPPs should provide more affordable tariffs, ensure delivery of better quality of service and better value for money for government. Thus, a successful PPP may be measured by the affordability of the tariffs or direct user fees. A PPP which yields a high, unreasonable or excessive tariff may be classified as a failed PPP,” said Forensic Solutions. –Ayen Infante, Daily Tribune

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